At least 113 were burned to death while over 150 were injured in a massive fire which ripped through a wedding celebration in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.
The death toll is expected to rise more, Nineveh Deputy Governor Hassan al-Allaq said.
“All efforts are being made to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate accident,” Iraq’s health ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said.
According to reports, funerals were already taking place for the fire victims, as mourning relatives gathered outside a morgue in Mosul.
“This was not a wedding. This was hell,” said Mariam Khedr, crying and hitting herself as she waited for officials to return the bodies of her daughter Rana Yakoub, 27, and three young grandchildren, the youngest aged just eight months.
Reportedly, 150 people have been injured in the blaze. The deadly fire broke out in the Hamdaniya district of northeast Nineveh governorate. Reports say that the mishap was set off by candles, and other flammable materials used during the celebration.
Nineveh governor Najm Al-Jubouri said the injured were taken to hospitals in Ninevah and the Kurdistan region. “There is no final count of the deceased and injured yet,” Al-Jubouri said.
It is learned that the bride and groom were safe by devasted by the incident. “The bride and groom are fine. I was just with them now, but their condition is devastating due to what happened to people here,” a wedding guest told a local news channel.
CNN reported that the wedding hall was covered with highly flammable Ecobond panels that violated safety instructions requirements,
“The fire led to the collapse of parts of the hall as a result of the use of highly flammable, low-cost building materials that collapse within minutes when fire breaks out,” the Civil Defense statement said.